Martin Bradley

Martin Bradley

Martin BradleyMartin Bradley (1931, Richmond,Surrey, Engeland) is a well known painter and sculptor who lives in Japan since 2008 together with his Japanese wife Tsatsuko. His art was strongly influenced by Japanese and Chinese culture, antiquity, cave paintings, Buddhism, symbolism and calligraphy leading to a cosmopolitian signature of his own which at the same time is reminiscent of Miró, Klee and COBRA art.

Bradley wanted to be an artist already as a child but was held back by a strict guardian. At the age of forteen he left home to join the merchant navy as a cabin boy on the route to Latin America. Here he began to paint the portraits of passengers. Once back in Engeland he decided to study literature, art history and Oriental languages in Londen. He was soon known to follow the group “Angry Young Men” and acquired the nickname ‘Rimbaud of Soho’ for his loose lifestyle. In the fifties his paintings were exhibited at galleries: Gimpel Fils, Gallery One of Victor Musgrave and Redfern Gallery in Londen. In the sixties he exhibited multiple times at Galerie Rive Gauche of Rudolphe Augustinci in Paris (also the representative of: Max Ernst, Tanguy, René Magritte, Dubuffet, Asger Jorn and Corneille for instance). Augustinci promoted his work in Europe and Musgrave did the same in Engeland.

In 1958 Bradley received a stipend and left for Brazil for three years. In 1961 he briefly joined the Foreign legion. From 1962 onwards he traveled the world for about ten years and met his Japanese wife Tsatsuko. In 1968 he traveled India and Nepal to deepen his knowledge of Buddhist culture in general and painting in particular. Bradley speaks ten (mostly Asian) languages, converted to Buddhism and lived in many countries including Italy, France (Paris) and Ibiza setteling in Belgium in 1989. In 2008 he moved to Japan where he still lives today.

Martin Bradley on his own work:

‘My painting tends to evoke the essence of an object, an emotion real or imaginary. For me the world is composed of a long series of natural visions inextricably mixed with those of the imagination, and each picture that I make is a crystalisation of these experiences suspended in the long corridor of time.’ 

One of Bradley’s best known works is his ‘Chess set’ from 1991 consisting of sculptures in Murano crystal as an hommage to the famous glass chess set of 4 by 4 meters ‘The immortal’ created by Egidio Constantini and Max Ernst.

The ‘Chess set’ by Bradley was created in collaboration with the Glass Studio Berengo on the island of Murano and was first displayed in the private rooms of the Doge in the Palazzo Ducale. After this early success the Glass Studio collaborated with many more famous artists including: Ai Wei Wei, Javier Perez, Ron Arad, Zaha Adid and Tony Cragg, in order to transform Murano glassblowing into a modern art.

Bradley’s work is collected by well known British collectors including: Sir Ronald Premrose, Sir Herbert Read and Dame Barbara Hepworth. Work by Bradley can be found in such prominent collections as those of: Museum Of Modern Art (MoMa), New York, The British Museum, Londen, Tate Gallery, Londen, Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo and the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, Venice.

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